Applying for a Dogs of Distinction Dog

Differences between a Service Dog and a Therapy Dog

The differences between Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs are very noticeable from the perspectives of services provided and legal perspectives. The terms, 'Service Dog,' and, 'Therapy Dog,' are not meant to used as equivalents and should not be used to mean the same thing; they are not. According to Federal Law, a Service Animal is not a pet. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that a Service Animal is any animal that has been individually trained to provide assistance or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a physical or mental disability which substantially limits one or more of the person's major life functions. In addition, a number of states in America have laws following Federal Law in greater detail.

A Therapy Dog is one that is trained to provide comfort and affection to people in and other stressful situations to include disaster areas. Therapy Dogs provide people with animal contact; people who may or may not have a form of disability. Therapy Dogs work in animal-assisted activities and animal-assisted therapy. The dog is commonly owned by the person handling it, who considers the dog to be a personal pet.

Therapy Dogs often work with their handler during sessions. The Therapy Dog and its handler make visits to others in a number of settings and are the most common source of Therapy Dogs. Handlers of these dogs might be health care professionals who are members of the staff of a particular facility, or volunteers.

It is very important to remember that Therapy Dogs do not have the same rights as handlers of Service Dogs. Handlers of Service Dogs are protected under the ADA because of the disability the handler experiences. The distinction is highly-important, and there should be no misunderstanding that it is the Person with a Disability who is the handler of the Service Dog that has rights under the ADA; not the dog. The Service Dog is allowed access based upon the rights of the person with a disability.

Applicants for a Dogs of Distinction Service or Therapy Dog Candidate Puppy may complete the APPLICATION

Once the application has been received, members of the Dogs of Distinction Preliminary Placement Review Committee will contact you to discuss your particular situation and determine if an Dogs of Distinction Dog and the In-Home Training Program will benefit your situation. The members of the Preliminary Placement Review Committee will answer any questions a family may have as they consider the various programs offered.

Application Procedure

If the Preliminary Placement Review Committee recommends an applicant be approved, a vote by a majority of the Dogs of Distinction Board of Directors will be necessary to place the applicant on the waiting list for the next available litter.

The waiting list for a puppy from a Nationally known bloodline is generally significantly shorter than many organizations and placement usually occurs within one year of approval.